I love a well-written book. Reading beautiful words rich with imagery makes my heart beat faster. The same is true for exquisitely illustrated pages. I love it when the illustrations are not merely images, but actual art. Art that you would pay a lot of money for or spend hours staring at in a museum.
There are a lot of really good stories out there. And there are plenty of art-filled books. But it is somewhat rare to find both an exquisite story combined with exquisite art.
Enter, Come On, Rain by Karen Hesse, illustrated by John J. Muth.
This book made my heart skip a few beats.
A little girl and her mama are hoping for rain on a sizzling, hot, southern summer day. (I can relate to this!)
The smell of hot tar and garbage bullies the air
as I climb the steps to Jackie-Joyce's porch.
"Jackie-Joyce?" I breathe, pressing my nose against her screen."
Jackie Joyce comes to the door.
Her long legs, like two brown string beans,
sprout from her shorts.
"It's going to rain," I whisper.
"Put on your suit and come straight over."
The girls get their swim suits on and enjoy frolicking in the summer rain--which is beautiful. The image of four girls running barefoot through the warm rain makes me smile--especially as I think of my own girls doing this very same thing together one day.
But here's where it gets really good: the girls make such a racket that their moms rush out to see what is going on--and then THEY join in, too!
Mothers and daughters running barefoot through the streets together.
We swing our wet and wild-haired mammas 'til we're all laughing under trinkets of silver rain.
As soon as we finished reading this book, Juliet looked at me wide-eyed and said, "I want to do THAT!"
So now, we're just waiting for rain.